Each year, the SkillShare board of directors selects one member to honor as the “Member of the Year.” That person’s name is engraved on a special plaque that hangs in the SkillShare office, an article is written about them in the SKOOP, and that article is posted on the website both in the archived SKOOP and in a special section devoted to the member of the year.
Generally, several members are nominated and the board discusses their various contributions before voting. This year, the only nomination that was not for Laura McCall was the one made by Laura, who is far too modest to nominate herself.
According to her, Laura found out about SkillShare in the fall of 2009 at the Boulder Farmer’s Market, which means that Rae Weitz was most likely the first SkillShare member she met. The concept intrigued her and she joined within a few weeks. At that time, Howard Lambert was still doing all the New Member Orientations, so he was Laura’s next SkillShare connection. She earned her first TimeDollars doing clerical work for Esther Flessner and was hooked for good.
“I found SkillShare at an interesting time in my life,” said Laura. “At the ripe old age of 27, I was burned out from working in the corporate world and trying to figure out ‘what’s next?’ and SkillShare was the perfect tool to let me ‘play’ with different possibilities. “For example, I’ve always loved cooking. But, would I like cooking as a full-time job? I wasn’t sure, so I posted an Offer to cook healthy meals on a weekly basis and Nisargo Troy and her family quickly signed up. She mentioned it to her office mate, Kathryn DeSouchet, and I was soon cooking for her as well as another member, Jan DeCourtney.”
According to Rae Weitz, Laura and her then boyfriend (now husband) came to her home once to cook and Rae hosted a dinner party with Chris and Laura as chefs. She said the food and the conversation were both wonderful. Laura cooked for Nisargo, Kathryn, Jan, and others fairly often for almost a year and said, “it provided a full taste of what it would be like to actually work in the food industry. The result? While I love cooking, I don’t want to do that as a job. And, thanks to SkillShare, I figured that out without spending big bucks to attend culinary school!”
Because she throws herself completely into whatever she does, as Laura became more involved with SkillShare, she found more and more things that needed doing, so she did them. And then she did more. And more. And, in 2010 Howard asked her to take over New Member Orientation, and she did. Then she did more. And more. Today, it is hard to imagine the organization running without her. And as she was taking on more and more organizational responsibility, Laura was also exploring other possible career options through multiple TimeDollar exchanges. She investigated gardening, teaching, public speaking, computer help, writing, business development, and many, many more.
And she didn’t just do work, she received services from “an amazing group of people.” She specifically mentioned a guided nature walk with Thiya Steele and crochet lessons from Vanessa Black before talking about “all the help I received before and during the week of my wedding: Claudia Riemer provided expertise selecting the catering menu, Lisa Dicksteen edited the text of the wedding invitation, Vasi Toneva provided a personalized yoga session in the park the morning of the wedding, and Lisa Dicksteen also babysat my niece and nephew during the wedding events.”
Not only has Laura made a noticeable number of the TimeDollar Transactions that keep SkillShare in business, she has become an invaluable member of the organizational configuration that keeps the whole SkillShare structure together. She has been on the board in the past and joined again in the middle of 2011 as a member-at-large. During both periods she consistently offered calm, organized, thoughtful, and diplomatic options and opinions on whatever was going on.
And her contributions to the Neighborhood Coordinator program have been incalculable. Without her, this helpful program would not have been refined into the smooth-functioning assistive system for new and long-term members we all enjoy today.
So, how can we thank her, let us count the ways:
1. We can thank her with the depth, and breath, and height our organization can reach.
2. We can thank her by sun and candle-light.
3. We can thank her freely, without thought of recompense, the way she works for all of us.
OK, OK, I am sure you get it by now, she’s an awesome addition to the organization. I am equally sure that Laura has already run and hidden somewhere with burning cheeks; modestly declining all this attention.
Laura says the reason she does all that she does for SkillShare is “because of the people.” All those people say, “thanks for all you do Laura.”